Recent hydrogen success story, McPhy Energy, has been chosen by Nottingham University for the mid-term storage of renewable energy in a residential micro-grid under its ‘Creative Energy Homes’ (CEH) project.

McPhy Energy, which was founded in 2008, will be used for the storage of surplus solar and wind energy under a new phase of the CEH project, which targets greater energy-autonomy for the homes via a dedicated micro-grid.

Gavin Walker, Professor of Sustainable Energy at the University of Nottingham, commented, “Having a combination of energy stores will provide a more robust system, with McPhy Energy's solid hydrogen tanks used primarily for mid-term energy storage, and using batteries for short-term energy requirements.”

Walker added, “Determining the best way of using both hydrogen and fuel cells within a microgrid is an important question that still needs to be addressed.”

The homes built under the University’s program incorporate a range of low carbon technologies including renewable micro generation from solar, wind and ground source heat pumps.

The houses have operated individually using only the renewable energy generated at that property. However, a practical, multi-home storage solution for surplus energy is needed to cover peak periods, especially after sundown and during periods of little or no wind.

To respond to this challenge, the new phase of the CEH project is building a microgrid that will provide an energy management system across several houses.

The project will investigate the optimum performance for storing surplus energy as solid hydrogen in McPhy Energy's MCP-N-4, a magnesium hydride (MgH2)-based storage tank, within the microgram. The hydrogen will then be used to feed the fuel cells on an as-needed basis.

Pascal Mauberger, CEO of McPhy Energy expressed his optimism at the news, “McPhy Energy is very pleased that our solid hydrogen storage systems have been chosen for this innovative project. This marks our first foray into the dynamic UK renewable energy market."

"While we are involved in many industrial-scale projects, we believe Nottingham University's Creative Energy Homes is the first in the world to investigate the use of solid hydrogen as a mid-term solution for energy autonomy on a residential micro-grid scale,” continued Mauberger.